How to become a secondary school teacher

Find out how to become a secondary school teacher in Australia and shape the minds of tomorrow.

Begin your secondary teaching career

Are you ready to inspire young people and make a difference in the classroom? There are two ways to get qualified as a high school teacher: 

  1. Earn a Bachelor Degree that focuses on secondary teaching, like a Bachelor of Education (Secondary). You can enrol in an online secondary teaching degree if you’d like the flexibility to study from home. You’ll still go on teaching placements in the classroom.  
  2. Earn a Bachelor Degree in an area that you want to teach in, like science or English. Then complete a postgraduate teaching degree, such as a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education).  
  3. Regardless of the path you choose, you’ll be required to complete the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students before you can graduate any teaching course. This assesses your personal literacy and numeracy skills to make sure they’re up to standard. 
  4. Once you’re qualified, register with your state or territory’s Teacher Registration Authority.
  5. Earn a current Working with Children Check, which reviews your background to ensure you’re suitable to work with anyone under 18. 


What does a secondary school teacher do?

Secondary school teachers guide teenagers through their most formative years, between the ages of 12 and 18 (or Year 7 to Year 12). As a key role model in their lives, it’s your job to share a set curriculum while capturing their interest and encouraging new thinking.  

Most secondary school teachers specialise in one or two subjects across Arts, English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS), Technologies or Physical Education, so you’ll get to focus on an area you’re most passionate about. You’ll teach a rotation of different classes every day, which means you’ll need to build a rapport with students quickly and take command of the classroom. 

Duties and tasks 

After becoming a high school teacher, you will:  

  • Design daily lessons plans that follow your state or territory’s curriculum requirements 
  • Teach classes that incorporate different teaching techniques and technologies, to cater for all learning abilities and cultural backgrounds 
  • Set regular homework tasks, supervise tests and mark assessments  
  • Write reports and hold parent-teacher interviews to update parents on how students are performing  
  • Supervise students outside the classroom at assemblies, on excursions and school camps or during extracurricular activities  
  • Supervise student teachers on placement 
  • Attend staff meetings and collaborate with colleagues on revising school policies  
  • Stay up to date on the latest pedagogies by taking part in professional development activities 


Why is secondary teaching a good career choice?

  • Teachers are highly sought-after, not just in Australia, but around the world. This gives you the gift of job security, plus the freedom to move wherever teachers are needed, including overseas.  
  • Every day is different. Your students will surprise and challenge you constantly, which means your career will never be boring.  
  • You can make an impact. Teachers help young people understand the world, wrestle with new ideas and prepare for adulthood. Everyone remembers how their favourite teacher influenced their life—and you could leave that legacy.  


Industry bodies

Australian College of Educators (ACE) 

ACE is an association for educators who work across early childhood, schools and tertiary institutions. Membership is application only, and grants you access to a range of professional development opportunities, plus resources on global education issues. 

The Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) 

ACEL is the largest educational association in Australia, with branches in every state and territory. The not-for-profit is dedicated to helping educators develop as leaders. Members get access to conferences and workshops, free networking events, leadership programs and an online learning library. If you join, you’re also eligible to share your expertise with other educators through ACEL’s widely circulated publications.  

The Australian Education Union (AEU) 

The AEU represents more than 185,000 educators who work in the public education sector. The union advocates for teachers on all work-related issues, including pay and teaching conditions, and can be relied upon for impartial advice.  

Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA) 

ATEA is a professional association focused on the continuing education of teachers. The organisation strongly encourages its members to conduct innovative research projects and awards thousands of dollars in grants every year. 

Secondary teaching jobs

Once you have your secondary teaching degree, you’ll be ready to start your rewarding career in the classroom. Your qualification can also lead to these other roles in the education sector:  

  • Adult education teacher 
  • Curriculum specialist  
  • Education administrator 
  • Education reform and policy officer 
  • Education research officer 
  • Head of department 
  • Principal 
  • TAFE teacher 
  • Teacher aide 
  • Youth guidance counsellor 

We're here to guide you there

Our student advisors can assist you with enrolment, help you plan your studies, and answer questions about how studying through Open Universities Australia can get you from where you are today, to where you want to be tomorrow.

Talk to a student advisor

We'll be in touch to answer your questions.

Student advisor Jason Student advisor Maria Student advisor Peter

Usually replies in 30 mins